According to the NY Times, the scope of Bush’s latest misadventure is greater than he admits:
The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system’s main arteries, they said.
To be more specific, here is the allegation:
What has not been publicly acknowledged is that N.S.A. technicians, besides actually eavesdropping on specific conversations, have combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects. Some officials describe the program as a large data-mining operation.
The current and former government officials who discussed the program were granted anonymity because it remains classified.
In related news, the NY Daily News informs us that the FBI has been monitoring mosques in the U.S. for signs of radioactivity:
Federal counterterrorism agents secretly have tested the air for radiation near hundreds of Muslim sites in New York, Washington and other major cities since 2002, officials confirmed yesterday.
If they are simply walking up and down the street with a Geiger Counter, I’m not too concerned. However, the article implies that there may be more to it:
Some experts question the legality of a program that involves entering private property to take air samples.
Concern about civil liberties violations is minimized by this statement, though:
An FBI official said the agency “is mindful of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Agents are trained to act within the parameters of applicable law in all operations.”
After all, the government is the protector of our civil rights and they would never lie to us. Right?